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Politics on Film
The last two nights have featured some of the political documentaries playing at SXSW. Friday's film was "Last Man Standing", a documentary that was mostly about the 2002 state representative race down in Dripping Springs, Texas, the only race where a Democrat beat an incumbent Republican. This was a good story, but as a film it needed more work. I thought there was too much supporting material about the other state races, and I would have liked to have seen more of the candidates positions, rather than just watching the process aspects of the campaign.

Tonight was the big film of the festival, "Bush's Brain". This was a film that chronicled the campaign tactics of Karl Rove, senior political adviser to George W. Bush. I think it made a strong case about Rove using really dirty, and possibly illegal, behavior to get his candidates elected, and to preserve their power during their term, but it's unfortunate that so many of the allegations just can't be proved conclusively. I think the strongest parts of the film were the interviews with former ambassador Joseph Wilson, who alleges that Karl Rove was responsible for outing his wife as a covert agent. I also like the interviews with the McCain 2000 campaign coordinator who talked about the whisper campaigns used against his guy in the South Carolina primaries. The film has a really sad sequence about an American soldier who was killed in Iraq that seemed out of place. I'd giving a recommendation to this film, but I think they should do more work on the flow of the film before getting a bigger audience.